Feel trapped by the heat? Banish boredom with our ideas for a fun-packed summer with the kids…
1. Grand Hyatt Dubai
Missing days by the pool? Grand Hyatt is ideal for summer, with an indoor pool, chilled outdoor pool, and toddler pool with specially designed shaded area.
Dhs300/400 (for adults on weekdays/weekends), Dhs150/200 (for kids on weekdays/weekends). Al Garhoud. www.dubai.grand.hyatt.com (04 317 1235).
2. Wild Wadi
Let the kids stay up past their bedtime, as fun-filled waterpark Wild Wadi is staying open until 10pm every Friday night.
Dhs225 (for adults), Dhs175 (for kids under 1.1 meters). Between Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab. www.wildwadi.com (04 348 4444).
3. Ski Dubai
Older kids can hit the slopes, whilst little ones can explore the Snow Park with its Snow Cavern and Tobogganing hills.
Dhs880 (for adults) Dhs640 (for kids 3-6), Dhs760 (for kids 760). Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs 10am-midnight, Fri 9am-midnight, Sat 9am-11pm. Mall of the Emirates. www.skidxb.com (800-FUN).
4. Marina Walk
Take the kids (and a spare set of clothes) to Marina Walk to splash in the dancing fountains for a fun, cooling treat.
Next to Starbucks, Marina Walk.
5. Iceland Water Park
Kids will love the slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and the largest rain dance pool in the world at this Ras Al Khaimah park.
Dhs150 (above 1.2 metres), Dhs100 (below 1.2 metres). Open Sun-Wed 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-6pm (ladies night 8pm-midnight), Thurs and Sat (10am-8pm). Ras Al Khaimah. www.icelandwaterpark.com (07 2067 888).
6. Chillout Dubai
At a temperature of -6’C, it’s easy to forget about summer temperatures in this fun ice lounge.
Dhs50 (for adults and kids over 12), Dhs30 (for kids 5-12), Free (for kids 2-4). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Time Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road, 3/4th Interchange. www.chilloutatdubai.com (800-CHILLOUT).
7. Water Play
Whether it’s a paddling pool outside or a washing up bowl inside, playing with water is fun, educational, and free. Cut up sponges into shapes, throw in plastic balls, and use pots to pour and scoop.
8. Dubai Ice Rink
Cool down with an hour on the rink – and with Penguin Pals skating aids, even tots can get involved.
Dhs55. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs 11.15-midnight, Fri 11am-midight. Dubai Mall. www.dubaiicerink.com (04 448 5111).
Feed their minds
9. House of Prose
Choose new books at this quaint second hand bookshop at Dubai Garden Centre. Afterwards, gaze at the tropical fish and order a juice from Unifruitti.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Sheikh Zayed Road. www.dubaigardencentre.ae (04 340 006).
10. Keep a journal
Encourage kids to write about their summer break in a journal, including tickets, leaflets, and photographs. A great keepsake!
11. Dubai Museum
Spend a morning or afternoon wandering amongst the displays. We love the street market and pearl diving sections.
Open Sat to Thurs 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Dhs6 (for adults and children over 6) Free (for children under 6). Opposite Grand Mosque, Al Fahidi Street (04 353 1862).
DUCTAC’s Summer Camp will teach kids about the environment, including lessons about recycling, caring for the city, and lots more.
Dhs900 (one week), Running until August 1st for kids aged 6-11years, 10am-1.30pm. Second Level Mall of the Emirates, Fashion Dome Car Park. www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).
13. Herb Garden
Create an indoor herb garden with your little ones. Let them select the herbs, help you plant them, and regularly water. Their faces will light up as the first shoots appear!
14. The Change Initiative
Enjoy a morning at The Change Initiative, where kids can enjoy a free session of story telling, dancing, and traditional nursery rhymes, every Monday throughout July.
Free. Monday 10am-11am. Al Barsha 1, Sheikh Zayed Road (near Ibis Hotel). www.thechangeinitiative.com (800-824)
15. Mercato Mall
The Jumeirah 1 Mall will be hosting daily entertainment for kids until 6th July to coincide with DSS, including arts and crafts workshops, stage shows, and character shows.
For info, visit www.facebook.com/MercatoShoppingMall.
Meet the animals
16. The Dubai Aquarium
Go for the Diamond Package to watch Stingray feeding at 2pm and Shark feeding at 4pm.
Dhs90 (for adults and kids), Open Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs to Sat, 10am to midnight. Ground Floor, The Dubai Mall. www.thedubaiaquarium.com (04 448 5200).
17. Arabia’s Wildlife Centre
Sharjah’s Wildlife Centre is completely indoors, so you can spend the day in the air-conditioning watching reptiles, invertebrates, birds, and large carnivores.
Dhs15 (for adults and children over 13), Free (for children under 13). Open Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 9am-6pm, Closed Tues, Friday 2pm-6pm, Saturday 11am-6pm. www.breedingcentresharjah.com (06 531 1999).
18. Snow Penguins
Watch the lovable creatures swimming underwater, before an up-close and personal meeting.
From Dhs 145 (for adults and kids over 3). Open weekdays 1pm to 9pm and weekends 12pm to 9pm. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. www.skidubaipenguins.com (04 409 4090).
19. The Ultimate Snorkel
Meet underwater creatures at this new experience at Atlantis, The Palm. Suitable for kids from 6 years, you will be guided through a habitat to 65,000 marine animals.
Dhs225 (with snorkel and mask as souvenir). Atlantis Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road. www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 0000).
20. Adopt a Turtle
Adopt a turtle from the Marina Turtle Conservation Project. Packs contain a cuddly turtle, adoption certificate, and information brochure. Encourage kids to research the project to keep their minds busy.
21. Cheeky Monkeys Playland
This three-tiered soft play area has giant animals, including gorillas and lions.
Dhs45 (for one hour). Open daily 9am-9pm. Ground Floor, Al Barsha Mall, Union CO-OP, Ground Floor. www.cheekymonkeys.ae (04 385 0875).
22. Favourite Things
Kids can move between a play area, crafts room, and giant sandpit.
Dhs85 (for one hour). Open daily 9am-9pm. Second Floor, Dubai Marina Mall. www.favouritethings.com (04 434 1984).
23. Mini Monsters
The largest indoor soft play area in the UAE, with themed climbing frames and age specific zones.
Dhs50 (one hour). Open daily 9am-10pm. Exit 42 Sheikh Zayed Road. www.minimonsters.ae (04 341 4459).
24. Zebra Crossing
The fun, jungle-themed décor of this play area makes it stand out.
Dhs40 (for one hour). Open Sun-Thurs 9am-8pm, Fri-Sat 9am-9pm. IBRI House, Behind Noor Islamic Bank Station, Exit 43 Sheikh Zayed Road. www.zebra-crossing.com (050 559 4903).
25. Little Explorers
With five different zones to keep them busy, education is disguised as fun.
Dhs100 (for 90 minutes), Dhs130 (for all-day access). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-11pm. 1st Floor, South Entrance, Mirdif City Center. www.theplaymania.com (800 386).
26. Fun City at Mercato Mall
Kids will love the play zones, musical area, and packed reading library.
Dhs30 (for under fours), Dhs40 (for over fours). Open daily 10am-10pm. 1st Floor, Mercato Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 9976).
27. Caboodle Pamper and Play
Drop the kids off for supervised play - or staying with them for some quality time.
Dhs50 (one hour accompanied) Dhs85 (one hour unaccompanied). Open Sun-Wed 9am-10pm, Thurs-Sat 10am-11pm. 2nd Floor, The Dubai Mall. wwwcaboodle.ae (04 325 3367)
Let their imagination run wild in this child-sized adult world where they can try out different jobs.
Free (for kids under two), Dhs95 (for kids two-three and adults), Dhs140 (for kids four-16). Open Sun-Wed 9am-9pm, Thurs 9am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm). Level 2, Dubai Mall. www.kidzania.ae (04 448 5222)
29. Aqua Play
This play zone includes water-based rides and activities that are fun and educational.
Dhs10 (per ride), Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat (10am-midnight), Mirdif City Centre. www.theplaymania.com/aquaplay/ (04 231 6311).
30. Magic Planet
Older kids will love the racing simulators, 4D theatre, and state-of-the-art amusement rides.
From Dhs60. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat (10am-midnight). Mall of the Emirates. www.theplaymania.com/magicplanet (04 341 4444).
Based in three malls, Peekaboo combines climbing frames, play equipment, and creative classes that run all day.
Dhs40 (for 6-11 months), Dhs60 (for 1-7 years). Open daily 9am-8pm. The Village Mall, Mall of the Emirates, and Ibn Battuta Mall. www.peekaboo.ae (0 344 7122/ 347 0622 / 429 7949).
Give them a thrill at this exhilarating skydiving simulator, suitable for kids over three (weight restrictions apply).
Dhs215. Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm, Thurs to Sat 10am-midnight. Mirdif City Centre. www.theplaymania.com/ifly (04 231 6292)
33. Play A Round
This indoor neon golf facility is fun for kids and adults.
Dhs45 (one hour). Open Sat-Thurs 10-7pm, Fri 11am-7pm. Retail 4 & 5 Jewels Tower, Dubai Marina. www.playaround.ae (04 457 0455)
34. Soccer Circus
Footie-mad youngsters will love this interactive football zone that tests their skills.
From Dhs70. Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Mirdif City Center. www.theplaymania.com/soccercircus (050 7145356)
35. My Gym
Burn excess energy at one of the many weekly classes on offer at this fun, physical gym for kids.
520 Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3. www.mygym.com/dubai (04 394 3962).
36. Marble Painting
Dip marbles in paint, throw them into a large container with paper lining the base, and tip and tilt to create brilliant patterns! Buy marbles and paint at Creative Minds, Ground Floor, Beach Center, Jumeirah Beach Road.
www.creativemindsdubai.com (04 3422179).
37. Pizza Chef
Spend an afternoon making pizza – from kneading the dough, to choosing favourite toppings, to munching your efforts for dinner!
38. Play Dough
Making Play Dough is easy. Add one cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt, one tablespoon of cooking oil, one cup of boiling water, and a splash of food colouring to a bowl – and mix together until it feels like play dough. You can add glitter too!
39. Messy Play
Add jelly, cooked spaghetti, and flour to an empty paddling pool before allowing your kids to explore the textures and get messy!
40. Cupcake Icing
Baking with the kids is fun – and getting messy with icing is even better! Let them experiment with toppings ordered through www.cakebox.me
41. Dubai Metro
Dubai metro is air-conditioned, offers amazing views, and is free for children under five years. We suggest travelling between Financial Centre and Mall of the Emirates.
From Dhs1.80 (for adults and children over 5). dubaimetro.eu.
42. Water Taxi
Travel Dubai’s waterways in air-conditioned comfort.
From Dhs60. For more info visit www.rta.ae (800 9090).
43. Palm Monorail
The Palm Monorail runs along the trunk of The Palm Jumeirah to Atlantis Hotel. Park your car in the car park next to One & Only Royal Mirage, before climbing on board.
Dhs15 (for single). Dhs25 (for return). Open daily 10am-10pm.
44. The Wonder Bus
This amphibious bus shows you the city’s sights by land, before ducking into the Creek for a fun air conditioned boat ride!
Dhs140 (for adults) and Dhs90 (for children). Twice daily from Burjuman Center, Ground Floor, Khalid Bin Waleed Road. www.wonderbusdubai.net (04 359 5656)
45. Mini Express
Head to Marina Mall and jump aboard the Mini Express train, complete with authentic whistles.
Dhs15 (for adults), Dhs10 (for kids). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm and Thurs-Fri 10am-midnight. Dubai Marina Mall, Exit 32 off Sheikh Zayed Road. www.dubaimarinamall.com
With nearly everything in this Japanese store costing just Dhs7, treat them to a shopping spree with pocket money for toys and stationary. There are 10 stores throughout Dubai.
www.daisome.com/locator (04 335 1532).
47. Hello Kitty Spa
Treat kids to some pink pampering at this Hello Kitty themed spa.
Open daily 10am-10pm. www.hellokittybeautyspa.com (04 344 9598).
48. Book Munch Café
Head to this kid-friendly café for tea and let the kids play on the floor tiles, explore the colourful tent, and browse the book library. Open half an hour before sunset throughout Ramadan.
Al Wasl Square. www.bookmunchcafe.com (04 388 4006).
49. Movie Afternoon
Enjoy an afternoon at the cinema – or recreate the experience at home with DVD’s, low lights, and microwave popcorn.
50. Rainforest Café
Dine under rainforest canopies with animals surrounding your table and a light show every 15 minutes.
Open at 5pm daily during Ramadan. Ground Floor, Dubai Mall. www.rainforestcafeme.com (04 330 8515).
51. Café Ceramique
Head to this creative café where kids (and adults) can paint pottery at the table. Open after 6pm during Ramadan.
Town Centre Mall, Jumeirah and Festival Centre, Dubai Festival City. www.cafeceramique.ae (04 344 7331 / 232 8616)